Tom Waring, the Wire
Galloway introduces DUI and organ donor bills
State Rep. John Galloway recently introduced two bills in the House of Representatives.
House Bill 1076 would stiffen drunk driving crimes for some accidents that cause serious injury or death. Currently, there is a loophole that allows reduced charges if it cannot be proven that driving under the influence was the cause of an accident that kills or seriously injures someone, even if the driver was found to be intoxicated.
“This is a huge loophole in our DUI rules,” Galloway said. “A local teenager, Zachary Gonzalez, was killed by an intoxicated driver while riding his bike in January 2014, but since the police could not prove the driver’s intoxicated state caused the crash, he could not be charged with a homicide; only driving under the influence. My bill would close that loophole.”
The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.
Galloway is also reintroducing Monica’s Bill as H.B. 1074, a bill that would allow a personal state tax deduction for uncovered expenses incurred by a living organ donor during the organ donor process. At least 10 other states have laws that provide some tax incentive for living donors.
The bill was inspired by a family medical emergency that brought the need for the tax deduction to Galloway’s attention. An organ donation recipient’s insurance will pay the costs of the medical procedures required for the donor, but the other expenses are the responsibility of the donor.
“I am calling this bill Monica’s Bill, in honor of my cousin, who donated a kidney to my 3-year-old nephew,” Galloway said. “Monica was considered a good match for donating and she was happy to undergo the procedure. Her part in the donating process required two trips to California with hotel and other living expenses in California before and after the procedure and one month lost pay at her job. Her company may qualify for a tax deduction for allowing her the time off, but she receives no financial support for the prohibitive expenses she has incurred. It is a major imbalance that a business can earn tax deductions for allowing an employee the time to make the donation, but the person who shares their organ gets no opportunity to recoup their expenses. Fixing this oversight may well encourage more living donations.”
The bill would cap the deduction at $10,000 per donation.
The bill has been committed to the House Finance Committee for further consideration.